Playing in the Dirt

We spent the afternoon doing landscaping over at Brooks St. I generally don’t do too much work at our properties myself, I leave that for the real contractors, however I do enjoy doing the landscaping from time to time. I don’t go to overboard, I usually will just plant some shrubs, evergreens and an ornamental grass or two. My favorites are boxwoods, azaleas, spirea, rhododendron, and Alberta spruces. I like to throw in some ornamental grasses for color and dimension. Because I use mainly evergreens I use the red mulch to add some more color as well. The main goal is to make it look fresh, clean and not too cluttered. If I can, I will try to save the mature landscaping already located around the property, but most of the time everything is so overgrown and unkempt it is best to take it all out and start fresh.

Heres what we did at Brooks St today:

Landscape Before

Landscape Before


Landscape After

Landscape After


Landscape Before

Landscape Before

Landscape After

Landscape After

House Before Landscape

House Before Landscape

House After Landscape

House After Landscape


We didn’t do too much, but it definitely helps the overall curb appeal of the house. We landscaped that whole front bed for less than $200, and most of that cost went to the three tall Arborvitaes, which cost $30 apiece.  The arborvitaes are a great foundation plant, especially in this situation as they block that ugly front wall pretty good.

New Deal …. The Ware House

Sorry I’ve been slow with the updates. I’ve been battling the flu for most of the week….  hoping it’s not swine flu!!

Hartford Terrace is under agreement, we went to contract with our new buyers after only four days on the market. Check out what our prospective buyers think of the house, read the comment on this page.  


We put a contract on a new fixer upper last night. Check this one out. It is a full gut that has been empty for over 13 years. The house is very old… built in 1890, and it has a mansard style roof, which I kinda like.

102_5427  She’s a beauty!

102_5432   Mansard style roof.

102_5434   Kitchen

102_5435    Dining Room/ Living Room

102_5438   A little water damage

102_5448   Claw foot tub.

102_5449   I like the wallpaper!

102_5444   This room is very psychedelic

102_5441   Check out the Tin ceiling

102_5447     More water damage

102_5446   Heres where the water is coming in


There are a few roof leaks which have caused some damage. This house has very high ceilings, and most of the ceilings are tin, which is a real nice feature…. except alot of them are rusted out because of the water damage. We picked this one up for real cheap. It will be a nice rehab, but we may end up just wholesaling it out.

Bessemer Week 7…. and other updates

We received an offer on Hartford Terrace after only four days on the market…. negotiations are underway so I’ll let you know what happens!

Bessemer St is moving right along and we should be finishing up the rehab over the next week or so. Have a look at the progress after week 7:

Stop Work Order

We’ve hit a few snags at the fire damaged three family. The next door neighbor isn’t happy about the dust from the demo so she called the cops on our contractor for working on a holiday (memorial day) and then she called the building inspector the next day… apparently she thought we were working without permits. No big deal, the inspector stopped by and everything looks good. Then on Thursday we got an unexpected visit from the Environmental Protection Agency…. seems someone called in an anonymous tip alleging that we were removing the asbestos boilers from the property on our own, instead of hiring the overpriced asbestos abatment companies. We’ve had four abatement guys over to look at the job in the last two weeks…. I’m not sure which one took the liberty of  dropping a dime on us.  I guess it’s their way of insuring they get work, call in the EPA so we don’t even consider removing it ourselves (which we never did).  So the EPA guy says that there is a slight chance that their may be asbestos in the sheetrock we are removing and he gives us a Stop Work order until we get some samples tested. $450 bucks later the samples come back clean and we should be able to start work again on Tuesday. Here’s a look at the progress so far:

102_5375    Not too much action on the exterior

102_5374   Nice Banner

102_4988   This porch is ready to come down on its own!!

102_5009  Heres how the third floor looked a week ago

102_5377  And the third floor now

102_5380   Here’s where the fire burnt through the roof


We’ll probably lose four days because of this little hiccup. It wasn’t too bad because it gave our contractor a chance to get back over to Bessemer and do some painting.


We bought another house on Wednesday. It’s on Brooks St in Springfield. The good thing is that this one has already been rehabbed by the previous owner, not to our standard… but it’ll do. Heres a look at the house;

102_4569    We bought this from a hard money lender out of CT who is also a pretty well known TV star on A&E’s Flip This House .  Theres a few repairs we need to make to this house, nothing major though.  Once thats done we’ll stage it and get it on the market.

Bessemer Update

Bessemer St is moving right along. We are starting our sixth week over there.  We’ve gotten all the inspections for the rough plumbing, rough electric, framing and insulation. The bedrooms and bathroom have been framed out in the new dormer and sheetrock has been hung. They should finish taping and mudding tomorrow than we can start painting. All the exterior work has been done except for landscaping, which we usually leave till the end of the job. Have a look at the photos… it is coming out really nice;102_5337     New siding, roof, gutters, windows,etc.

102_5341  A look at the full dormer

102_5340  Shameless Marketing

102_5360  Kitchen looking at new archway

102_5354    Living Room

102_5353   Looking back into Kitchen

102_5356  First floor bathroom

102_5347   New second floor bathroom

102_5349  New HUGE upstairs bedroom

102_5365   Basement finally cleaned out

102_5367   New 200 amp electrical service

102_5366  New high effeciency direct vent furnace


All the finish work should take another 2-3 weeks. I hope it is closer to the two week point so we can bring this to market in the middle of June…. if we haven’t already sold it prior to completion!

Let the Fun Begin

We finally purchased the fire damaged three family this week and work is underway. This is a huge project, we are going to be gutting all three units to the studs and going back in with all new electrical, plumbing and heating systems. Outside the roof will be repaired and reshingled, we’ll do new vinyl siding, new windows (45 of them), demo the side porch and repair the front porch.  This house is 3,720 square feet, it’s huge. When we’re done we’ll have three very big four bedroom apartments that should rent easily because everything is brand spankin new. Heres some photos of the demo work;   



We’ve got four dumpsters on order just for the demo, but I’m thinking we may need more. The timeline for this job is 12 weeks. The first step will be to gut the house. Once all the walls are open the electrician and plumber can begin running all their rough plumbing and wiring. While their doing their thing inside the outside work will be getting done. This ones gonna be fun.

Hartford Terrace, finished and staged

Here are some photos of the Hartford Terrace house all completed and staged. We generally do some light staging of the kitchen, bathrooms and any other points of interest within the home (I love fireplace mantles). The house came out pretty freakin sweet!!!! Check out the photos:













Alright, don’t those photos make you just want to buy this house!!! It is gorgeous and in an awesome location; on a terraced street across from a school and a park. I’ll get some before and afters up so you can see the transformation we made to this property.

Closing… my favorite seven letter word

Every real estate investor knows that closing days are very special….. whether you are selling a finished rehab, or closing on that great deal you just spent the last few weeks negotiating. It’s the culmination of all your hard work, endless phone calls, restless nights, and dealing with attorneys, lenders, buyers, sellers and agents….. and hopefully they result in nice paydays.

On that note, we sold our short sale rehab on Arnold Ave today. We put together a short little case study video on the deal…….

This property was a rehabbers dream …. a cosmetic renovation that we were able to purchase at a big discount, rehab quickly, and sell the first day on the market!